School thief sentenced in court

A BURGLAR has been sentenced in court after being rumbled for stealing �10,000 worth of computers from Backwell School.

Scott Collins was with four friends when he forced open the window of the school’s media centre, broke into a padlocked cabinet and stole 13 Apple Mac laptops on August 19.

The 20-year-old of Newquay Road in Knowle, Bristol, pleaded guilty to burglary at North Somerset Courthouse in St Georges on Friday.

The court heard how Collins broke into the school at 1am on August 19. He travelled to the Station Road school with four friends before they went on to Bishopsworth Dental Practice in Bristol, where three of them were heard smashing a window.

A nearby resident called the police after seeing three hooded people near the practice and then a car leaving the scene. Officers later stopped the car.

Matthew Bessant from Avon and Somerset Probation Service told the court how Collins, who is unemployed and lives with his mum, had received a sum of money for doing it.

Lisa McClelland, defending Collins, said: “He accepts he played a major role in the theft at the school and is sorry for any inconvenience he caused them.

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“He said it is not in his nature or something he would normally do.”

Magistrates sentenced Collins to a 12-month community order with supervision requirement, 150 hours of unpaid work and a four-month curfew requiring him to stay at home between 7pm and 7am. He was also ordered to pay �85 in costs.

Backwell School headteacher Julian Baldwin welcomed Collins’ prosecution.

He said: “When equipment is stolen from the school it costs the taxpayers money, causes an awful lot of extra work for the staff and most importantly if affects the learning of students.

“It is a damaging thing to happen.”

Speaking after the sentence, PC Mark Humphrey, from the Priority Crime Team, said: “Response police officers, the priority crime team and outside agencies have worked in tandem to make sure the perpetrators are brought to justice.

“The general public must also be praised for their quick actions in reporting suspicious activity to the police at the first opportunity.”